Tuesday, January 18, 2011 |
As I'm swung out, my eyes shut and squeeze out the tears to mix with the lake water. Even as I'm sinking, I know now to turn myself as quickly as possible and begin to pump my legs even before I hit the sand on the bottom. The sand feels like mud and it spreads itself between my toes as I try to grip it. When I feel my feet touch the bottom I open my eyes and see the swirl of sediment twisting around me like a genie. To my right are some pillars supporting the dock and the forbidden ladder. Up ahead, the sandy bottom slopes gently up to the shimmering ceiling of the lake.
There is no sprinting under water but one can achieve a sort of propelling bounce with practice. I've had lots. My body is bent forward in the permanent posture of crossing a finish line. That line is not ahead, but rather above. Like a scrawny, moon-walking astronaut I bounce over large, solitary mussels, straining the tip of my nose to the surface. The dock is long but I manage to make it from one end to the other, racing under water, before my breath runs out.
By the time I pull myself to the beach my dad is already yelling, Hurry up. Again. He is angry at the dock for not being longer, angry at the lake for not being deeper and angry at me for sabotaging his swimming lessons.